Published: January 5th 2016 by Sourcebooks Fire
Page Count: 285
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.
10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.
10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open.
10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.
Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.
Spoiler Free Review:
I was really happy to hear a book about a school shooting was being published. It seems to be a very touchy subject, but one that should be brought up. School shootings, shootings in general can happen anywhere at anytime. It really is a terrifying thought, but I was happy to see a book that could possibly raise awareness. I did end up liking parts of the book and that the author tried to raise awareness of how important this topic is. However, I didn’t find the overall story to be fleshed out to its potential.
I did find the pacing of the story to be very gripping. I kept wanting to know what was going to happen next and ended up finishing it one sitting. Despite the book’s short length, the story was intense straight through. I felt just as anxious as the characters and the unpredictability of the story caused a lot of tension. I do applaud the author’s ability to craft a gripping story. Nonetheless, there were many plot holes. Some things weren’t explained very clearly and everything kind of just zoomed by. The story definitely should have been stretched out. I really didn’t feel connected to any of the characters at all. In addition, there wasn’t much closure towards the end and I would have liked to have seen more of the aftermath
The book takes place over the course of fifty four minutes, which did the fit the story. The span of time took place at a realistic time. I did read that the author did a lot of research for the story, which is evident in some aspects. I think she captured the terror and trauma of the students perfectly.
But what really irked me was that the teachers didn’t make an attempt to try and resolve the issue. The shooter actually was a student at the high school and I’m sure a few of the teachers knew him. Only one tried to reason with him and the rest were just hiding along with the students. It is true that the teachers were just as terrified as the students, but it’s also a teacher’s responsibility to try and protect and resolve the issue. The teachers didn’t play any role in the story. I really would have liked to see chapters from a teacher’s prospective to be able to get into their mindset and how they would handle the situation.
The story follows four perspectives, all from students at the school. All of them are related in some way or know each other. I was really glad that two of them were POC and there was also a relationship between two girls. Most of the perspectives made sense and went with the story, but I didn’t see the point of Claire’s chapters. What did she really add to the story?
I also really wanted chapters from the perspective of the shooter. What was going through his head? It is true though that writing about a crazy psychopath is quite difficult. Speaking of the shooter, though I did find some parts of him realistic, he was a bit over the top and dramatic. His lines felt a little to unreal. I wouldn’t know if an actual shooter would talk as dramatically he did, but it didn’t feel genuine.
Overall, I found this book to be very gripping and fast paced, but there were many issues with it. While the concept of a shooting is imperative to discuss, especially in today’s society, it wasn’t done as well as I thought. Even if the author did get down parts of the terror and trauma elements, there were many flaws regarding the plot. The characters also could have been fleshed out as well. I would still recommend this book for the sake of the concept, but not if you’re looking for a book that’s well rounded in all areas.